I remember when I first started high school as a freshman. For me, and I suspect, for most students, it was a scary feeling not knowing anybody and feeling uncomfortable because of fear of not fitting in, or fear of being criticized by others. It was hard, because at the time I didn’t know what my potential was, or what direction my future was heading.
Fortunately, this is when Junior Achievement came into my life and inspired me to step away from what was comfortable and familiar to grow as a student and as a human being. JA showed me the benefits of trying new things, meeting new people, and pushing past fear to expand my horizon. I learned about the importance of passion and vision. I also learned that failure is just another step in the journey toward success, and that the ability to get back up and carry on after being knocked-down and discouraged is an important marker of success. The rewards have been many, and thanks to the support and encouragement of JA volunteers, each success leads to another as my confidence and business skills grow and improve.
Thanks to the Student of the Year scholarship from JA New York, in the second week of July I will attend top college choice, Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. I will study the two things I am most passionate about - business and government. By combining my interest in Political Science and Economics, one day I hope to return to Queens NY to serve as a powerful voice advocating for needs in my community. And just think - all of this would have been seemed impossible to me 4-5 years ago when I first started high school as a nervous and scared freshman.
I want to thank Junior Achievement and all the business and community volunteers and supporters who give time and resources to help guide so many students like me into adulthood by providing us with the knowledge, support and confidence we truly need to wake up to our potential and the full range of possibilities in life.
Submitted by Joseph Hernandez, JA New York Alumnus
Class of 2015, Academy of Finance & Enterprise
2014 JA New York Student of the Year